• Germaine Greer on 'Q&A'. (ABC TV)Source: ABC TV
Australian academic and author Germaine Greer has defended her views on the transgender community during the latest episode of 'Q&A'.
Drew Sheldrick

12 Apr 2016 - 10:02 AM  UPDATED 12 Apr 2016 - 12:16 PM

Feminist Germaine Greer has used her appearance on the ABC's Q&A program to defend her controversial views on transgender people, again attacking trans woman Caitlyn Jenner and questioning her right to call herself a woman.

Greer was put in the hot seat by audience member Steph D'Souza who asked the author about her "confusing" view that transgender women are not real women.

Greer initially appeared to show an evolution of her thinking in her response to D'Souza, admitting that it was a difficult subject.

"I agree that when I first was thinking about 'what is a woman?' I fell for the usual view that women are people with two Xs and men were people with an X and a Y, which made life nice and easy for me," Greer confessed.

"I now realise - partly cause I'm not entirely immune to information - that this was wrong, that in fact there are all kinds of intersexual conditions and there's various way in which genes are expressed in behaviour and development, and that having two sexes is essentialist... but it's not even that, it's just wrong."

Comment: Questioning 'Q&A'
As a trans person sitting in the 'Q&A' audience last week, Jeremy Wiggins was perfectly qualified to weigh-in on the program's lengthy debate on gender diverse people. So why wasn't he - or any other trans person - able to discuss their experience?

Despite that initial concession, Greer then defended her previous comments on the subject.

"The interesting thing to me is this: That if you decide because you're uncomfortable in the masculine system which turns boys into men, often at great costs to themselves, if you're unhappy with that it doesn't mean you belong at the other end of the spectrum," she said.

Host Tony Jones interrupted Greer to ask about transgender people who know they've been born in the wrong sex.

"You can't know that," Greer replied.

"The difficulty for me is that women are constantly being told that they are not satisfactory as women; that other people make better women than they do and that the woman of the year might be Caitlyn Jenner, which makes the rest of the female population of the world feel slightly wry.

Comment: Gay shame and "acceptable" LGBTI heroes
Tim Cook and Caitlyn Jenner may be inspirational figures for some, but others will find their role model status deeply isolating, writes Helen Razer.

"I don't believe that a man who has lived 40 years as a man and had children with a woman, and enjoyed the unpaid services of a wife - which most women will never know - that he then decides that the whole time he's been a woman. And at that point I'd like to say, 'hang on, you believed you were a woman, but you married another woman. That wasn't fair, was it?'"

Jones said he thought Greer was, at first, digging herself out of a hole with her comments, but lamented that she may have just "shoveled it back in".

In 2015, Greer told the BBC that, in her opinion, transgender women are "not women", and that a great many women who are not transgender do not "look like, sound like or behave like women".

Greer was also the target of a petition last year to ban her from speaking at a public lecture at Cardiff University, citing her views on transgender people.

Barry Humphries labels Caitlyn Jenner a "publicity-seeking ratbag"
Australian comedian Barry Humphries has accused former Olympian and high-profile trans woman Caitlyn Jenner of being a being a "publicity-seeking ratbag" who underwent "self-mutilation".

Australian comedian Barry Humphries found himself embroiled in similar controversy this year when he defended Greer against accusations of transphobia in an interview with Britain's Telegraph, and referred to Caitlyn Jenner as a "publicity-seeking ratbag" and "mutilated man".

“I agree with Germaine! You’re a mutilated man, that’s all,” Humphries said.